Originally written on Thoughts from the Dark Side  |  Last updated 2/29/12

As has been widely reported at this time, the Raiders are well over the 2012 salary cap.  It was initially posited that the team was $11 million over the cap or so but according to Profootballtalk.com, the number is actually closer to $25 Million over the projected salary cap of approximately $120 million.

The Raiders probably aren't in a terrible spot because most of the players whose contracts are taking up the cap room can either be cut or restructured with little or not drop in .  According to Paul Gutierrez of CSN, here are the Raiders' top paid players based on their salary cap number:

Player                                  2012 Salary Cap Number (in millions)

TE Kevin Boss                      $4.75

OG Cooper Carlisle               $3.3

LB Aaron Curry                    $5.75.75

DT John Henderson             $4.75

WR Darrius Heyward-Bey   $8.159

FS Michael Huff                  $9.82.875

PK Sebastian Janikowski    $4.5

CB Chris Johnson                $4.5

DT Tommy Kelly                 $8.874.266

P   Shane Lechler                $4.9

LB Rolando McClain            $3.64

RB Darren McFadden          $9.478.833

QB Carson Palmer              $12.5

CB Stanford Routt              $10.785.334

DT Richard Seymour           $14.068

LB Kamerion Wimbley        $11.85

Some players' numbers are not going to change – Standord Routt's for example.  However, of the players that look like they could be in line to be cut include John Henderson, Chris Johnson, Aaron Curry, Tommy Kelly, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Cooper Carlisle, Kamerion Wimbley or Michael Huff.  Any of those players would potentially be in line for restructuring, as well, although I wouldn't expect John Henderson back in any capacity next year.

Carson Palmer isn't going to be cut but restructuring and reducing his $12.5 million cap number this year would certainly be expected.  The same is true of Richard Seymour, if he's up to doing it. He won't be cut as the entire amount is guaranteed already but he loses nothing by restructuring and the Raiders don't really lose anything either as they are paying that entire amount anyway.  Of the above players mentioned, I would see the most likely to restructure are Aaron Curry, Tommy Kelly, DHB, Huff and Wimbley.

Bottom line, a lot is made about the salary cap and who is over but it won't be a big deal this year just like it's not a big deal every year.  Teams have to deal with the salary cap and the Raiders may have to restructure some players or may have to cut some players but the key players are in place and aren't going anywhere.

You can follow me on Twitter @AsherMathews

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